Moon and Sun Book 1: The Ruby Key – Holly Lisle – 384 pages
“Human and Nightlings are never to meet, but when Genna and her brother Dan venture into the old forest at night, they encounter a Nightling slave who reveals a terrifying secret: Genna and Dan’s village chieftain has made a dangerous deal with Letrin, ruler of the Nightlings, offering the lives of his people in exchange for his own immortality. To save the villagers and themselves, Genna and Dan strike their own bargain with the Nightling lord, but the stakes are even higher. Now, the siblings must embark upon a journey along the Moonroads, and bring back the key to Letrin’s downfall.” –Scholastic online store
I’ll be totally honest here–I picked up The Ruby Key because the cover art was appealing, particularly the waifish fairy girl. Covers really do matter! I judge books by them all the time! At any rate, it looked like something I would enjoy, and I was totally right. You’ve pulled together this really interesting mood that starts out sort of The Village-or-Forest of Hands and Teeth-esque, and then it sort of morphs into this slightly weirder Campbellian journey. The Moonroads reminded me a little bit of the Abhorsen walking around in Death, or perhaps of the path through the clock to the Red Bull’s lair in The Last Unicorn. Still, though it reminds me favorably of other things, the idea of traveling roads that most people can’t see is mysterious and thrilling in its own unique way–a nice twist on the traveling.
Also, as one might expect from the first book in a series, it had an unfinished feel to me. I think there wasn’t quite enough time between the solving of Book 1’s main conflict and the beginning of the new conflict that I presume Book 2 will tackle. I needed a little more time to feel relieved, and like the story had ended, before you sprung the next problem on me. Of course, that didn’t prevent me from groaning aloud and then scouring the internet for news of when the next book would be coming out! I think you’ve got a good mix of fantasy elements here without the story feeling like it’s been done before, and also a great mix of characters and a lot of confusion and suspense about who to trust. I like that quite a lot! Well done, you get a solid four stars.
Books this year: 93
Pages this year: 17,978